DS Show Reviews and Gallery: Pegboy preps for the UK, Heavy Seas lends support. Chicago (07.27.2023)

Chicago’s Pegboy returned to the stage for two sold-out nights (July 26th and 27th) as they prepped for shows in the UK, including Rebellion Festival. Heavy Seas provided an opener to the second night.


Pegboy sold out the first night of their two-night weekday stand at Chicago’s Liar’s Club in advance of the band’s trip to play several U.K. shows and festivals, the most famous being Rebellion Festivals. The demand was so fierce, a second night was scheduled for the day before the first announced show. Both sold out in under 24 hours.

Pegboy is a legendary supergroup of sorts but the individual members all hail from much-loved earlier punk bands in this city. Singer & guitar player Larry Damore previously led Bhopal Stiffs, lead guitar player John Haggerty was formerly with Naked Raygun, and his brother, Joe was a member of The Effigies. New bass player Herb Rosen was with Rights of the Accused. Both nights were filled to capacity with family, friends, and fans. I am honored to be counted in the middle category and very much part of the latter one. So a little biased I admit.

However, said bias aside, the second night’s show which I covered was explosive. It was also hot as hell in the sauna that was Liar’s Club. I would guess that every member of that crowd was soaked and glistening with sweat. Between the energy expelled and the temperature no doubt assisted in climbing by the sheer number of bodies packed in there, it was a hot sweaty mess. But a beautiful mess, By the end of the last tune played, a good number of the crowd were rapidly heading to the exit to gasp some fresh air on or near the venue’s well-trod and well-sat-upon stoop.


Speaking of legendary, John Haggerty is wholly deserving of that status bestowed upon him years back. From his days with Naked Raygun to Pegboy, Haggerty appears stoic onstage. However, his blazing guitar playing tells a different tale. Together with his brother, Joe, crushing it behind the kit, one can only imagine the Brothers Haggertys’ garage days when they first began on their respective instruments. A fly on the wall, I’d think more than a few of us would have liked to be just that.


Larry Damore may be a few years older since the band last played but he looked healthier and more energetic. Friends would joke about how many songs in would Damore sit down on the stage, occasionally taking his own pulse. Usually within four if memory serves. But this year, there were just some brief breaks to catch his breath and joke around a bit. Other than that, his performance, and that of his bandmates, remained hard-charging. Damore’s trademark moves of arms raised high and spread out remain. As did his generosity with the microphone. There is little doubt that a good dose of the fans can sing every lyric in that set and some songs not included. This was repeatedly in evidence.

This set contained all the big songs and some of the even bigger ones too. Kicking off the set with the driving “Field of Darkness.” During the powerful “Revolver,” the very best cover of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver,” Damore, as always, repeatedly made gun-to-the-head gestures to his head and many in the crowd mimicked it as well.

I was hoping, and I know others were too, that the Daryl Wilson of The Bollweevils, would join the band on stage for one of the last performed songs “Hardlight.” Damore and Wilson have dueted vocally on the tune to great effect. Alas, on this night, the Punk Rock Doc was there as friend and fan alone. But between that first song of the evening and the close out, “My Youth,” the band blasted through an incredible set, including “Through My Fingers,” “Superstar,” “Locomotive Lung” (featured in the Will Ferrell comedy “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby”), and “Dangermare.”

Pegboy also performed another one of my very favorite songs overall, the melancholy “Strong Reaction.”

I walk alone through the sleet and snow and pouring rain to
Get my heart broken, forever ever lost inside of
I walk along to slip and fall on strong reactions
Keep my heart broken, never ever amend myself
That’s alright and that’s okay
.”

It’s possible that I sang along to that. Maybe. The song is among the band’s most popular of all and part of roughly 100 million puns, give or take 11 or 23, used in a manner associated with discussions of the band. It’s also a song familiar to diehard skateboarders from its presence in a DC Skate Company video.

The song speaks of walking alone. A scenario we all have felt at some points in our lives. But on this night there was a collective joy. Joy in watching a great band perform, joy knowing that it was headed to one perform at one of the very best punk festivals in the world and joy watching friends and family and a beloved band continue to tear it up on stage after so many years.


As noted above, the band ended the night with “My Youth.”

And I just can’t convince myself
That it was long еnough
But I just can’t convince myself
That it was long enough
In my youth
.”

As long as the quartet can get up on stage and perform as powerfully as it did on this night, long enough will never come to fruition.

But one last item of note: Rosen, though known for Rights of the Accused as also noted above, and a member of Chicago party band, The Beer Nuts, is also the beloved owner of Liar’s Club. Rosen, Damore and the brothers have been friends for roughly three decades. In fact, there’s a short documentary, “Reverb: A Punk Rock Fish Story” about fly fishermen Larry Damore, Joe Haggerty, and Herb Rosen.

Rosen has the affable and genuine demeanor of a man of the people when he walks through his club. His arms seemingly always open to give and receive hugs. On stage, smiling and laughing, Rosen is a delight. He seems a perfect addition to the band.

Damore told me they are looking forward to the shows in the UK. As for the shows at Liar’s he added,

Thought the shows at Liars went pretty decent but still working stuff out a bit.

Here’s to hoping Pegboy plays some more shows in Chicago and elsewhere in the US once it returns to the States. If the shows they performed at Liar’s in late July were still the band working things out, I cannot wait to see the musicians return in full form. An opinion I have little doubt is widely shared.

But for the moment, safe travels across the Pond, and best wishes to Larry, John, Joe, and Herb and any accompanying crew members. Have a blast, take some, ok, lots of, photos and regale us of the tales of this adventure upon your return. I’m sure we’d all love to be there with you. I know I would.


We recently covered Heavy Seas for its show at Reggie’s Music Joint. As with that last show, this night the band performed a real banger. Heavy Seas is a band that can more than hold its own with Pegboy. It provided a great opener that got fans to the stage.

Jeff Dean, Ron DiCola, and Justin Miller slammed through a set that included, “Waves and Dreams,” “Idle in Life,” “Oscillation,” “Monuments,” “Listen,” and “Stumble.”

Keep an eye and ear out for this intensely good band. You’re sure to dig them. I do.


Check out more photos from the show. Thanks and Cheers!


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